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Date: 02/16/10 14:09
How do you get a railroad job
Author: Phanzlik

Can anybody out there give me any good advice on how to go about getting on with the railroad now days. I check the up, bnsf and genesee and Wyoming websites daily. Is that the only way they hire now or are there some other tricks out there that could help me. Any feed back would be appreciated, Thanks



Date: 02/16/10 14:44
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: mt19a

You have to know the right person, at the right place, at the right time. That is what worked for me.



Date: 02/16/10 15:00
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: mkostecky

I may be old school but how about just going the local office/yard and knocking on the door, so to speak.
That's read: Going there in person!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/10 15:02 by mkostecky.



Date: 02/16/10 15:19
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: UPTRAIN

Wait a couple years if you want to work for anybody bigger than a Class III.

Pump



Date: 02/16/10 15:23
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: imrl

Now is the worst time to try and hire on the railroad. With the economy in the crapper, all of the class 1's have many people on furlough right now. The UP has almost 300 furloughed in Kansas City alone. They will (attempt to) recall those employees before they even consider hiring more.



Date: 02/16/10 15:25
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: davebb71




Date: 02/16/10 15:27
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: xsphogger

Currently the only way to get a job on any railroad is to own one, like Warren Buffett.



Date: 02/16/10 15:35
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: jkchubbes

I wouldn't get your hopes up for a Class I. Only people hiring nowadays are Class IIIs and the best thing to do for those is to call them. Call the office and tell them your interested in hiring out on the railroad.



Date: 02/16/10 15:43
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: wa4umr

Take a look at Al Krug's page on how to become an engineer.

http://www.alkrug.vcn.com/rrfacts/engr_req.htm

John

Oh, BTW, of the people I know that work for the railroad, about half or them or more knew someone that worked there and got them in the door.



Date: 02/16/10 15:59
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: signalmaintainer

imrl Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now is the worst time to try and hire on the
> railroad. With the economy in the crapper, all of
> the class 1's have many people on furlough right
> now. The UP has almost 300 furloughed in Kansas
> City alone. They will (attempt to) recall those
> employees before they even consider hiring more.


OK, I've read a lot of misinformation in several posts above. Imagine this: There are other career field on Class 1s besides train service. BNSF may -- MAY -- be looking to put on more signalman this year due to retirements and the addition of Positive Train Control to several subdivisions.

We've had no, nada, nyet signalman furloughed on the BNSF system. And if making a wage in the mid-$60,000s (as a construction signalman, with overtime; signal maintainers make a lot more) sounds acceptable to you, then keep checking the BNSF career page -- that's the only way to get an interview.

After four years in the signal department, you can transfer to another craft -- if the other craft hires you, e.g., transfer from signal to train service. BNSF has shown that it typically prefers to hire from within first.

Yes, it does help if you know someone in the company who can give you a reference. Don't knock on a yard office door at BNSF -- they can't help you with employement. There might even be a sign on the door saying so.



Date: 02/16/10 16:27
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: im_trainman

I agree with the guys saying wait for the economy for a Class 1, however NS is actually hiring in a bunch of positions right now. To the best of my knowledge, walking into an office and asking someone for a job is like talking to a wall, they will kindly tell you to go onto the website and apply. From there you will have to fill in an ungodly amount of information about yourself, even copy/pasting your resume into a space allotted for that. Once completed, HR people review your information and pick out the best candidates for the jobs applied for. Then a hiring session will be scheduled, and if you are picked, you will be invited.

After being invited, MAKE SURE YOU SHOW UP ON TIME! if you dont, you will be locked out and told to have a safe drive home. Hiring sessions usually start off with the, here is the BAD sides of the job. Such as, you wont be home for holidays, birthdays, your kids baseball games. Until you gain seniority, you are basically at the railroads beck and call, so on and so forth. Then they tell the good sides of the job, pay, retirement, health care, etc. Then they take a break and see how many come back from the break. From there you may be given a personality profile, and a math test, or in some cases you may just be given an interview. If you take the tests and do well, then you are given an interview, and thats where it all hinges, do good in the interview, and your in. As hard as it may be for some, go in there and be confident, dont be nervous, be formal, listen to what they ask you, and ALWAYS think of safety, as that is the biggest thing on the railroad.



Date: 02/16/10 16:29
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: rehunn

Back up five feet, stop, close your eyes and think, do I want to
do this as an interesting career or do I have an emotional thing
for trains. If the career thing wins out then stay in school, get
a degree in mechanical engineering and watch for UP openings in
the mechanical trades. Working in train service for trip money
is one thing but when you get in the pay structures where the
term "levels" is involved it's way better.



Date: 02/16/10 17:10
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: QU25C

DME has a class of new hires in Iowa there got a lot of work.



Date: 02/16/10 17:13
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: trainjunkie

It took me 7 years to finally get a job with the UP back in the 1980s when the economy was not unlike it is right now. The Internet has changed things a lot these days since you can search job listings from home (or wherever). Back then I relied on friends there who would tell me when hiring started. Even then, sometimes by the time information got to me the hiring sessions had closed. It took awhile before my timing was right.

As it turned out, I spent more time trying to get a job there than I actually spent working there.

Before you get all gung-ho on wanting to be a railroader, assuming you want to get into the operating department, you should REALLY familiarize yourself with what the job is like in today's day and age. When I hired out a lot of the information I based my decision on was from before the Staggers act. By the time I finally got the job, the labor agreement for new-hires (or "unprotected trainmen") was quite different than it was for the guys who hired out before the post-deregulation crew consist agreement was in place. It was a hose-job for labor in my opinion, especially in certain high-cost-of-living, low mileage district terminals. But I digress.

Well, at least read this.

http://www.railroad.net/articles/columns/hottimes/hottimes_20060602.php



Date: 02/16/10 19:22
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: imrl

signalmaintainer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> OK, I've read a lot of misinformation in several
> posts above. Imagine this: There are other career
> field on Class 1s besides train service.

In no way did I give out "misinformation". While I was originally writing my post with train service in mind, the UP in Kansas City has employees in all crafts on furlough. This includes train service, maintenance of way, signal, clerical, and yes, even management. I'm thrilled that your craft in your location has not experienced any ill effects of the current downturn in business. However, that is not the case with most every other craft in most every other location on most every other railroad.

To the op, if you really want to work for the railroad some day, be patient. Figure out how the railroads hire. For the UP, they hire through jobs postings on their web site. Check that frequently. Be patient.



Date: 02/16/10 19:28
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: rehunn

Yah, they furlough in the crafts and beg for us "contractors" to
take on more work. I keep wondering if one of these days the railroads
don't end up contracting for nearly every employee, not to give them
ideas they don't already have.



Date: 02/16/10 20:04
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: OPRMTO

xsphogger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Currently the only way to get a job on any
> railroad is to own one, like Warren Buffett.


On that note...

Thank you Dad!!!

Craig
Oregon Pacific Railroad



Date: 02/16/10 21:09
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: Jaanfo

Phanzlik Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Can anybody out there give me any good advice on
> how to go about getting on with the railroad now
> days. I check the up, bnsf and genesee and
> Wyoming websites daily. Is that the only way they
> hire now or are there some other tricks out there
> that could help me. Any feed back would be
> appreciated, Thanks


Well, go in with an open mind; Don't just try for one job (Such as Conductor), put your name in on everything. As people have said above look for clerical jobs, mechanical jobs, signal maintainer, etc. Getting one of these establishes your Railroad Hire date (which can have some effect on seniority later), gets your foot in the door, and when they look for the craft you want you're in a better position to be hired over people from the street. It also gives you a different perspective then what you went in with, perhaps you'll like what you're doing more then you think you'd like an Operating job...

I hired on with Amtrak as a Clerk in 2005, in 2007 I applied for and got a Conductor job. Of my class I was second in my zone for seniority because I had the second latest Railroad Hire Date, though my Conductor's Seniority date was the actual Hire date for the class. The class was made up about 1/3 internal candidates, 1/3 from other carriers, and 1/3 from the street.

If you do hire on in a craft other then Operating (Trainman/Engineer) I'd suggest studying and talking to the Operating employees as much as you're able to about their job, one thing about being a railfan and working on the Railroad is when your hobby becomes your career it really loses a lot of luster, I'd really ask yourself if you really want to do this as a career.



Date: 02/16/10 22:05
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: bnsftrucker

Yep, what he said, don't bother knocking at any BNSF doors, the only way to get in with the BNSF is through the website and it does help if you know someone in the BNSF for reference, to be honest, the best craft to be in is either signal or track, were pretty much full force and less furlough than the transportation dept, the only time one would get furlough is during the winter months when the mobile gangs shuts down for 3-4 months.

signalmaintainer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> imrl Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Now is the worst time to try and hire on the
> > railroad. With the economy in the crapper, all
> of
> > the class 1's have many people on furlough
> right
> > now. The UP has almost 300 furloughed in
> Kansas
> > City alone. They will (attempt to) recall those
> > employees before they even consider hiring
> more.
>
>
> OK, I've read a lot of misinformation in several
> posts above. Imagine this: There are other career
> field on Class 1s besides train service. BNSF may
> -- MAY -- be looking to put on more signalman this
> year due to retirements and the addition of
> Positive Train Control to several subdivisions.
>
> We've had no, nada, nyet signalman furloughed on
> the BNSF system. And if making a wage in the
> mid-$60,000s (as a construction signalman, with
> overtime; signal maintainers make a lot more)
> sounds acceptable to you, then keep checking the
> BNSF career page -- that's the only way to get an
> interview.
>
> After four years in the signal department, you can
> transfer to another craft -- if the other craft
> hires you, e.g., transfer from signal to train
> service. BNSF has shown that it typically prefers
> to hire from within first.
>
> Yes, it does help if you know someone in the
> company who can give you a reference. Don't knock
> on a yard office door at BNSF -- they can't help
> you with employement. There might even be a sign
> on the door saying so.



Date: 02/16/10 23:02
Re: How do you get a railroad job
Author: JBRioGrande

Pester the regional folks first. More opportunity to learn more about the industry, and the workings of train service or engine service. The big guys have a lot of good old boys, relatives, inside juggling, and plenty of red tape. They are generally pretty nasty to new recruits and sparks. You have to be persistent, always in their face with enthusiasm, and you must be strong,...don't be limp. Don't let some SOB turn you away. Just remember, you'll probably be working with that same SOB if and when you get hired.



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